Friday, December 21, 2018

To Just Live

St. Foy, Conques 

Part of the difficulty of our inner search, I think, is the extraordinary number of attachments we form to our external lives. They create an enormous range of impulses and desires, all of which are inclined by impulse to live this way, that way, or the other way. In the end, I always want more than life, somehow; and I know this sounds contradictory, but there you are. I want the things of life; and there is no end to this wanting, because there is no end to the things. 

What I fail to want is life itself.

 Life is what quickens in me and gives me being. It’s life itself. Not the things of life. Life is an energy, a force, which my being ought to inhabit. If we speak about the law of reciprocal feeding in this context, perhaps we could suggest that my Being feeds life and life feeds my Being.
 All this takes place before there are any things, and the things ultimately don’t have anything to do with its action. 

Yet all of my attention is riveted on things, not Being.

 I don’t want to just live. Yet to just live would be exactly what’s necessary in order to acquire the sense of Being that I profess interest in. In an exquisite irony, even the sense of Being becomes a thing I want, instead of a simple action of just living.

 To just live is to be here. 

Not to be here in the mind, which thinks I am here. 

And not even to be here in the body, which senses that it is here. 

Not to be present in the emotions, which feel like I am here (and would probably rather be there, somewhere else, where things are better.) 

It is to be here in a whole way which involves a molecular sensation, an awakening of the intelligence of the body and the intelligence of the feeling, which join the intelligence of the mind to form a receptive state which just lives.

 Perhaps I think this is too idealized and practical for what we call the “real world” today; I don’t know. But even that is already intellectualizing it, because one should just live first, and discover what it means afterwards.

 There are no magical actions here. Ordinary being is quite prosaic and stands in suspension, awaiting the conditions of life. My outward parts will always have gears that turn in reaction to it; but the inward parts can form a more stable environment. 

In the end, this is only a place to begin, and nothing more. To just live. That can be, as you may see with some effort and some luck, quite sufficient of itself. Even a glimpse of the complications we inflict upon ourselves and one another from this perspective will do a great deal to explain the conditions we live in.



Announcing the publication of 

The Reconstruction of the Soul is a wide-ranging investigation of symbolism in High and Late Medieval art. It includes detailed analyses of the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cluny Museum and the Cloisters in New York, as well as detailed examinations of the mysterious, erotic and bizarre symbolism in The Cathedral of St. Lazare in Autun.

Along the way, it traces the roots of Western esoteric art from Babylon to ancient Greece, revealing traditions that are still alive today, some 3000 or more years later.

The material is illustrated with photographs taken by the author on location in France and New York, as well as source material from various museums.

It will appeal to anyone interested in the symbolic transmission of the world's Western esoteric heritage.

All funds from your purchase of this book will go to support the translation of important historical documents related to the Gurdjieff tradition.

The author is currently at work on a second volume which will explore even earlier (!) influences on esoteric art and practice. Anticipated publication of this follow-up work will be late 2019.

Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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